Got Doggy Drama? Pet Mediators Help Settle Animal-Related Disputes

Pet Mediator

Settling disputes about pets can be a messy business, but a growing breed of certified professionals is trying to help. 

Pet mediators are gaining popularity among divorcing couples trying to decide on a living arrangement for a shared pet, as well as with frustrated neighbors fighting over a barking dog, according to the Wall Street Journal. The state-certified mediators work to settle disputes as a neutral third party. Their services typically cost about $250 an hour — much less than entering litigation over a pet conflict.

Debra Hamilton, a pet mediator based in New York, worked with a couple whose million-dollar divorce settlement was about to fall through because the husband suddenly wanted 50 percent custody of their dog. Mediation is a good option in cases like this because judges often won't hear pet-related litigation, since animals are legally considered property. "Courts are bound by statutes and precedent and can't address the emotions owners may feel for their pets," Hamilton told the newspaper.

The couple in question sat down with Hamilton and talked through their feelings about their dog and their distinct relationships with him, as well as their concerns about taking on full-time care of the pooch. In the end, with Hamilton's help, the couple worked out a care schedule for the canine that took into account both their own busy work and travel schedules and their shared love of the dog. When the two hour session was over, Hamilton says, the couple left on better terms with each other than they had been during their divorce proceedings.

Check out the Wall Street Journal article for more information about this growing trend, and tell us: Have you ever settled a dispute with the help of a pet mediator?


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